News | January 9, 2017

New ASTM International Standard Helps Measure Nitrogen In Water

A new ASTM International standard will help calculate the amount of nitrogen in water samples in a more efficient way. The test method (soon to be published as D8083, Test Method for Total Nitrogen, and Total Kjeldahl Nitrogen (TKN) by Calculation, in Water by High-Temperature Catalytic Combustion and Chemiluminescence Detection) was developed by ASTM International’s committee on water (D19).

Specifically, the test method helps measure the amount of total nitrogen and total dissolved nitrogen in surface water, seawater, groundwater, wastewater, and more.

William Lipps, vice chairman of the committee, says the new method will help labs that analyze total nitrogen, organic nitrogen, or total kjeldahl nitrogen. Importantly, the test method speeds the analysis process, giving total nitrogen results every five minutes. In addition, it requires smaller water samples and only one reagent (dilute HCl).

“Publicly owned treatment works may find the method useful for process control and calculating nitrogen removal,” says Lipps, environmental marketing manager at Shimadzu Scientific Instruments.

The standard measures total nitrogen as a single number using high-temperature oxidation followed by chemiluminescence detection.

“Other methods that analyze total nitrogen, particularly those that use wet chemical oxidation, may suffer from incomplete recoveries due to chloride interference,” Lipps added. “This new method was tested with seawater matrices and no interference was detected.”

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ASTM Committee D19 on Water Next Meeting: Jan. 23-25, 2017, Cocoa Beach, Fla.